Mexican Folklore Music and Dance
Because of the diversity in Mexico Culture throughout Mexico and Mexico’s history, there are various “pre-Hispanic” and regional dances. In pre-Hispanic times, numerous festivities were held in Mexico throughout the year. These festivities centered around religious, military and social dedications to the gods they worshipped. The ceremonies incorporated poetry, songs, music and dance. In Mexico, lyrics and poetry were read individually or in chorus, and the songs told stories of the victories and military events. They taught religion, mythology, fantasy and of everyday events all of which were a part of their beliefs.
It's amazing that today, Mexicans exalt their roots and continue to represent these dances. In Mexico today, the dancers carry wonderful costumes, representing the Aztecs, using “Huipil” and “Enagilla” or loincloths, headdresses, rattles etc. Mexico City and her surrounding regions are the ideal place to experience this kind of celebration and exhibition of Mexican Customs that date back many centuries.
The best place to witness these cultural events is in the Zocalo of Mexico City, and during the calendar of special festivals or religious days. Splendid old world Mexican exhibitions and colorful presentations can be seen in the beautiful Basilica of Guadalupe, as well as Coyoacan, are often incorporated into Mexico’s Political Delegations, as well as archaeological sites such as the Pyramids of Tehotihacán.
In many areas of Mexico you will find theaters and plaza’s where, as a visitor of Mexico, you will experience shows that are organized into forums and theaters in the city. Of interest, in the Mayan Riviera each year, a special Mexican event to note is called The Sacred Journey . With deep meaning this event is a kind of pilgrimage that is made through the Seas of Cozumel to Ixcaret. Ixcaret Mexico represents indigenous Mayan culture and it is in Ixcaret where, throughout the year, you will find special events to experience and admire the traditions of these rare and traditional people. If you plan on travelling to Cancun, Mexico, add Ixcaret as a destination and MUST SEE!
Steeped deep in rich Mexican History and with incredible pride, Mexican folklore is expressed in celebration drawing on religious, civic or family festivities. Tradition is very important to Mexico, as is family. It is very common in Mexico that the holidays for each region take place at the center of the city. This plaza or the “Zocalo” is the meeting place and center for all town activities and events. It is where the people come together to spend a Sunday afternoon and or exchange a story. It is here, on the “Zocalo” that celebrations occur and you will find dances and exhibitions with regional music,traditional Mexican decorations adorn the streets incorporating brightly colored flowers and arrangements of Mexican small colored lights that add a touch of romance to the evening.
You will find an abundance of delicious Mexican food, crafts and clothing typical of the region, and even from different parts of the country if you are lucky! If you are fortune enough to travel early in the month of March you might consider attending the traditional celebrations of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where there is an atmosphere steeped in rich vibrant Mexican traditions. If you find yourself in Oaxaca, Mexico in the months of July you might find yourself in the middle of an exciting Mexican celebration known throughout the country of Mexico, Fiesta Guelaguetza de los Lunes del Cerro. Because this event is so special to the Mexicans, and the Mexicans come from all over the country to attend this event, the Mexico State Government constructed an outdoor theater with a capacity of over 11 thousand seats on the Fortin Hill, located in the heart of the city. It is here that the countrymen of Mexico come together, representing different Mexico States and regions, and traditions, for the enjoyment of one another and in celebration of a culturally rich country. It is here you will witness Mexico’s Pride all in one place.
Mexican Mariachi music is popularly known in North America and has spread worldwide. It is entirely Mexican, though has a polka influence of the Germans who migrated into Mexico in the 1800’s, the Mexican Mariachi Music flourishes between the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Guerrero, Michoacan and Colima.
Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico, one of Mexico’s largest cities and home to the “Charro” (cowboys of Mexican culture), is host to the International Mariachi and Charrería Festival every September. This wonderful cultural event attracts the best of the Mexican Mariachi’si from all over the world. Additionally, this time honored Mexican cultural event steps up the elegance with numerous Mariachi Galas at the Degollado Theater and Rodeo shows where you will witness and appreciate the culture, tradition, art and sport. Focused on the Mexican Charro, an exhibition similar to United States Rodeo, this event showcases well honed skills in handling the horse, roping and livestock, and brings with it, the beautiful costumes and colors rich in trimwork, that adorn the Mexican-brimmed hats and beautiful embroidery of their clothes. Having a plentitude of silver mining throughout Mexico, Mexican Silver buttons are used in many of these costumes and boleros. Honoring the Mexican Revolutionary era, it is common to see women dressed in Adelitas (typical costume of the revolution) riding erect on their horses, in great Hispanic pride, in demonstrations with Mariachi accompaniment. This is a spectacular sight to behold! In many cases, this is what you will see in the Grand Parade Opening of the event.
Similar events can also be seen in Puerto Vallarta, twice a year during the months of May and November. Arts and Crafts festivals and cultural shows from nearly 200 colonies, come together to bring great variety of Mexican traditions, and Mexican Folklore, in the new Cultural Center which now proudly includes a state of the art, amphitheater. It is here you will find yourself experiencing it all while enjoying the Sabor De Mexico, Flavors of Mexico!
Mexican Carnival is a highlight of the year In Mexico. Two Mexico destinations bring the splendor and fun of Mexico Carnival to life. One in the city of Acapulco and the other, Mazatlan Carnival both held in the season of lent. The latter, Mazatlan is one of three major carnivals in the world. For nearly a week, the streets are seen partying to the sound of the Tambora (norteño) that accompanies the spectacle of floats and costumes, musical groups, and an abundant collection of the culinary art of the region. It is also here, in these two cities, that you will witness the exciting cliff divers of Mexico. A technique and tradition passed down in generations, cliff divers in both Acapulco and Mazatlan have created a “must see” for any traveler experience. It is fluid, graceful and breathtaking to watch.
We could say that the Mexican traditional dances of the country are Mexican Polka from Northern Mexico and the border areas, and the Huapango, born in the Huasteca (usually danced in Veracruz, San Luis Potosi, Puebla). Throughout Mexico, folk music, dances, and “Jarae Tapatio” dances come from different parts of the country, are all artistic expressions of music are combined and incorporate the Spanish influence. Spanish influences gave birth to the so called: bands, drums, and mariachi’s among others, all of which use the guitar, trumpet, violin, rattle, reed, flageolet, and the snail. We would be remiss were we not to mention that those who interpret the dances and music are usually dressed in typical Mexican costumes, that include lovely large brimmed hats known as Mexican Sombrero’s and ornate, tiered, colorful dresses that represent their culture. With an eye for detail and adornment, the traditional Mexican dresses worn by women tend to have embroidered fabrics with ruffles and colored threads and often become ornate in design and detail they are a traditional garment handed down from one daughter to the next.
Mexico is a country of festivals and celebration, although we have highlighted some of them throughout the year there are many events. To enjoy music, dancing and live the Mexican traditions first hand, you don’t need a scheduled event. In all towns and villages there are restaurants, nightspots, theaters, bars and tours close to hotels, cruise ships in ports of call along the Mayan Riviera, all of which offer presentations, songs or dances that make you feel as though you were meant to be Mexico, and leaving you longing to return again in the future for more.